Holiday parties are most enjoyable when everything is plentiful, from the smiles to the food and good-value wines.
A welcoming glass of Napa Valley’s nonvintage Domaine Chandon Rosé sparkling wine sets a buoyant mood. Its eye-catching effervescence, sunrise reddish color and pleasing red fruit flavors are perfect instigators for a carefree, stylish tone. Easy-to-reach platters of grilled shrimp, tuna rolls and spicy dips will delight your guests and flatter this well-made sparkling wine. And your smile with be broader knowing that at about $17 the nonvintage Domaine Chandon Rosé is less than half the price of rose’ Champagne.
Searching for a flavorful white wine that’s not another chardonnay or pinot grigio? Put some bottles of the 2011 Tasca d’Almerita Regaleali Bianco in your basket. Sicilian by birth, its blend of inzolia, cataratto and grecanico grapes deliver a vibrant pear and jasmine scent, and a medium-light body filled with tasty white fruit flavor and citrus-like acidity. Ideal with spicy Asian foods, or Sicilian fried rice balls, fried calamari, or seafood salad. And at about $13, you can put the bottles back on the shelf and request a case.
South Africa’s Boekenhoutskloof winery makes a selection of higher priced wines, but within its portfolio is the bargain-basement 2012 Wolftrap red wine. Winemaker Marc Kent uses a blend from the south of France of 67 percent syrah, 31 percent mourvedre with 2 percent of the white grape viognier to create a black cherry-colored wine bursting with black pepper, blackberry and thyme aromas. Black fruit flavors and soft tannins make the 2012 Wolftrap immediately drinkable and ideal with any red meat presentation. And the best part is that at $9 you won’t get price-trapped with the 2012 Wolftrap.
Banfi is well known for its quality-driven Tuscan wines. Even the basic 2011 Banfi Chianti Superiore reflects its high standards. Bright cardinal red and scented with roses and cherries, it defines the word juicy with its ripe cherry and cranberry flavors. Put a few bottles of the 2011 Banfi Chianti Superiore next to the pizzas, lasagna, or a platter of chicken cooked with peppers and onions and you’ll have a convivial gathering. And at about $11 a bottle, you can be a generous host.
Fedway Associates distributes the 2011 Banfi Chianti Superiore.
Finish the evening on a sweet note from Piedmont, Italy, with the 2012 Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti. With only 5 percent alcohol and light bubbles, this delicate wine is filled with fresh peach, apricot and citrus flavors. Nivole means cloud in the Piedmont dialect, and it is most enjoyable when served chilled, not iced. Its delightful composition will complement your bowl of sliced mango, strawberries and pink grapefruit sections.
The 2012 Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti is sold only in half-bottles wrapped in a smart orange cloud label and bearing an airy $15 price.